Home Search: Passive or Active

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Real Estate

Home Search: Passive or Active

Getting purposeful about your plan for your next home

There's a place for both a passive search and an active search in today's market. For instance, if your move is definitively not going to be for 3 months or more, we recommend a passive search.

An active search, however, is incredibly insightful for those who intend to be moving in the next 60 to 90 days. So, what's the difference between an active and a passive search?

Let's start with the easy one. A passive search. This is where you really never leave the house to engage with what your options will be when you're ready to make your move. But most people actually don't do this very intentionally. What most do is they look and see what homes they might like today, and this can easily lead to discouragement, especially in a market where there's very little inventory or homes are selling quickly (or both). The result, sporadic inspirational searching that often leads to a delayed move, and pressure when you just can’t wait any longer.

The best way to set up a passive search is to:

  • Pick a consistent time each week to look. We recommend Thursdays/Fridays as that is when most new inventory becomes active.
  • Keep a journal or create a spreadsheet. Track how many homes each week are coming available that you would enjoy owning. Make a note of the pricing. Then, each week going forward, track how long until it went under contract and track any price changes.
  • Evaluate each month, what the market is doing. Is the inventory increasing? Are homes sitting on the market longer? For how much above or below listing price are they selling?

The result of this intentionality is that you will gain a clear direction on timing and will be prepared when it’s time to move.

When you’re ready, it’s time to engage in your active search. This is when your goal is to be moving in within 45-90 days. The steps are easy for this and are as follows:

  • Contact a local real estate agent who asks great questions, knows how to interpret the market, will guide you comfortably through the process, and is well connected to contractors and other service providers. Set an appointment to discuss your plans (by phone or in person). Note: It’s never too early to call your agent; even in your pre-liminary stages. They should be able to share what is happening real time in the market and forecast what will happen over the next 3 months. They will also have knowledge of inventory that no one knows about yet.
  • Connect with a lender (if obtaining financing). Ask about interest rates. What has the trend been during your passive search. Get pre-qualified!
  • Commit to your agent and your lender, get the process started and start looking at homes. If you’re moving to a new area. There are additional steps to take. See our blog on “Relocating: Best Practices”

So, it’s easy as 1, 2, 3.

If you have any questions or would like to specifically discuss your questions and goals for your move, we look forward to hearing from you.